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Best Comics of 2015

Posted by Panel Beats Team at 10:28 on 31 Dec 2015
Best Comics of 2015
If you've been a PanelBeats reader for any length of time, you'll be aware that for one reason and another, we haven't had an incredibly busy year in terms of writing about comics. But we've still been reading them, and so with the end of the year upon us, it seems a good time to check in and let you know what we've enjoyed in 2015, in case you've missed any of it yourself. Look, it's an end-of-year post: you know how these things work.

Rather than doing a ranked countdown based on any kind of consensus, we've instead individually written about which books stood out for us this year. As ever, our tastes and consumption habits can vary hugely (although there is some crossover); and of course, we're aware that we don't necessarily cover the full spectrum of everything that was published across the industry in 2015. Nevertheless, if we've mentioned it below, then as far as this site's concerned, it was a highlight of our year - and is well worth checking out if you haven't already.

Comixology Sale Picks: Grant Morrison

Posted by Seb Patrick at 11:23 on 23 Oct 2015
Comixology Sale Picks: Grant Morrison
Hello. Sorry, yes, we know, it's been a while. We've been a bit busy, and it's prevented us from getting much done around here. But Comixology are running an absolutely massive Grant Morrison (DC/Vertigo only) sale this week, and we simply couldn't let that pass without comment - so read on to find out just how much of your hard-earned cash you need to be throwing away...

If you don't love The CW's Flash, you don't deserve good comic book adaptations

Posted by Seb Patrick at 13:39 on 12 Aug 2015
If you don't love The CW's Flash, you don't deserve good comic book adaptations
It is 2015, and it looks like we are basically getting a live-action adaptation of Flash of Two Worlds. Or at the very least, something heavily inspired by it. I can reasonably say without hyperbole that it doesn't get much better than this.

30 amazing Batman costumes only seen on action figures

Posted by Seb Patrick at 11:22 on 21 Apr 2014
30 amazing Batman costumes only seen on action figures
Batman is easily one of the most popular characters in action figure history, with several hundred different figures of him having been produced over the years. Unfortunately, he also - with the odd exception - has tended not to change his costume in especially dramatic ways, save for the occasional switch from grey to black, or the addition and subtraction of the famous yellow oval.

Despite this obvious handicap, his popularity in plastic form is such that toy manufacturers have never been shy in coming up with wild, inventive and frequently batshit mental alternative costumes to flog to unsuspecting parents the world over. Here, then, are thirty particular favourites of ours...

Preacher Reading Guide

Posted by Seb Patrick at 12:27 on 16 Jun 2014
Preacher Reading Guide
Oh look, it's another one of those Comixology sales where the entirety of a brilliant series is going super-cheap. It's not really possible to pick out individual issues or arcs from Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's late '90s Vertigo series Preacher and recommend them over others - the series as a whole is a sprawling epic that really needs to be followed through from the beginning rather than dipping in and buying bits of it. But because of the handful of spinoff, character-background-filling-in miniseries that were released alongside it, and the fact that different trade editions have collected some things in slightly different orders, it's useful to put together an arc-by-arc reading guide for if you do end up buying it in this single-issue form. And at the same time I'll give a quick précis of each arc and where I think it stands in the great scheme of things.

Five things that are great about that Supergirl promo

Posted by Seb Patrick at 12:04 on 14 May 2015
Five things that are great about that Supergirl promo
First and foremost, it's worth noting that the six-minute promo video for CBS' Supergirl that's gone online today shouldn't be considered a "trailer" as such. Instead, it's what's known as a "cutdown" - essentially, an edited blast through the pilot episode designed to help sell the show to advertisers and the like.

Nevertheless, it seems to serve as a pretty good indication of what the new Melissa Benoist-starring series (or, at the very least, its first episode) is going to be like... and it's a very encouraging one, for this Supergirl fan at least. Here are five things that particularly jumped out as giving us reason for enthusiasm...

DC's Convergence: A Character Primer (in 40 Comics)

Posted by Seb Patrick at 21:44 on 30 Mar 2015
DC's Convergence: A Character Primer (in 40 Comics)
So DC's massive Convergence event - in which basically the entire DCU is going on hold for two months while a load of past versions of characters get smooshed together for a big universe-crossover that is in no way similar to the one Marvel are doing almost immediately afterwards - kicks off in earnest next week (after an introductory zero issue this Wednesday). And to celebrate, the publisher has been running a Road to Convergence sale on Comixology, designed to give confused readers an entry point into their history of multiverses and reboots.

Unfortunately, said sale basically just consists of the assorted miniseries - Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour, Flashpoint and so on - in which said reboots have occurred, along with a couple of New 52-era minis that set up some of the plot of Convergence itself. So none of them are really much help if you want to get a handle on the old incarnations of characters that will suddenly start appearing for two-issue minis in April and May. And that's where we come in. Instead of giving you a guide to which of the previous crossovers are worth buying, we've gone through every single one of the upcoming miniseries and picked a single, individual comic you can buy digitally that we feel in some way introduces, encapsulates, or otherwise explains the character. And yes, we even got one for Hawkman.

Cinematic Universe Episode 7: Superman (1978)

Posted by Seb Patrick at 13:51 on 17 Apr 2015
Cinematic Universe Episode 7: Superman (1978)
Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's the latest episode of Cinematic Universe, the comic book movie podcast from FilmDivider.com, featuring Seb and James from PanelBeats alongside host Joe Cunningham.

Cinematic Universe Episode 6: Watchmen (2009)

Posted by Seb Patrick at 13:44 on 07 Apr 2015
Cinematic Universe Episode 6: Watchmen (2009)
Apologies for the belated post, but if you haven't caught it yet, don't forget to check out our latest Cinematic Universe podcast - in association with FilmDivider.com - in which we discuss "visionary" director Zack Snyder's 2009 adaptation of Watchmen.

DC's Convergence #0 is actually just a reprint of Armageddon 2001

Posted by Seb Patrick at 00:04 on 01 Apr 2015
DC's Convergence #0 is actually just a reprint of Armageddon 2001
I was delighted to receive, from a source who must remain anonymous, an advance copy of the first issue of DC's much hyped crossover event Convergence on Tuesday. My delight turned to astonishment, however, when I cracked open the issue, only to discover that the entire contents of the issue are actually nothing more than a reprint of the 1991 crossover comic Armageddon 2001 #1.

It seems that rather than giving us a brand new storyline based around the pre-
Flashpoint versions of their characters, DC have seen fit instead simply to reprint an existing one. As it happens, I'm a big fan of Armageddon 2001 - but even I would baulk at the idea of paying all over again for something I already bought once nearly twenty-five years ago.

On the other hand, the fact that
Convergence is nine issues long, while Armageddon 2001's bookending series was only two, suggests that maybe once the first issue is out of the way, things will diverge significantly. Maybe they'll change the ending, and have a character who someone somewhere actually cares about become Monarch?

Either way,
Convergence #0 - by Archie Goodwin, Dan Jurgens and Dick Giordano - is in stores today.